Funding FAQs

Funding can look different for each student based on the type of program, term/duration of the program, Financial Aid eligibility, and more. Explore these Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about some important Funding concerns, and be sure to reference the Financial Aid Guide specific to your program type for more information.

Financial Aid Guide: Faculty-Led Programs

Financial Aid Guide: Exchange/Provider Programs


In addition, if your Financial Aid situation is in any way unconventional, consider scheduling an...

Appointment to meet with a Financial Aid staff member 

Appointment to meet with a Study Abroad Peer Advisor



How Do I Fund my Program?

Students typically pay for Study Abroad through a combination of financial aid, scholarship, grants and personal funds. Study abroad costs vary depending on the program a student selects. While some programs are more expensive, the majority of programs are similar to what you would spend at GVSU and some may even be less. There are also scholarships and grants available to help students study abroad.

What are Some Affordable Study Abroad Programs?

When we refer to "Affordable" Semester programs, we mean that these programs are the same price as a typical GVSU semester or less (including Airfare). In terms of "Affordable" Summer programs, we have shorter options for under $9,000 and longer options for under $15,000. 

Affordable Study Abroad Programs

How do I know how much Financial Aid I will receive for my time abroad?

You can predict how much Financial Aid they will receive during your time abroad by looking at your current year’s Financial Aid Award (located in myBanner). You can also contact Financial Aid directly by using the Financial Aid Template Email to receive an estimate for your available financial aid. 

Am I eligible for more financial aid because I am studying abroad?

Not necessarily. In most cases, Study Abroad students will be eligible for the same amount of Financial Aid as if they were studying at GVSU. However, since Studying Abroad can cost more than studying at GVSU, the Financial Aid Office will adjust the "Cost of Attendance" for your semester abroad provided that you complete the Study Abroad Expense Form. Adjusting the Cost of Attendance means the cap on the amount of Financial Aid you can receive is adjusted to reflect the estimated costs associated with your academic program.

I am an Out-of-State student. Is anything different for me?

No. Students who participate in a program where tuition is paid to GVSU will pay the same rate they would expect to pay if they stayed here for the semester. If you qualify for the tuition differential scholarship or grant, you may still qualify for this award. If you have any questions about this section, contact the Office of Financial Aid at [email protected].

Spring/Summer Programs

If I am studying abroad during the summer, how can I receive Financial Aid?

Summer study abroad participants should discuss their funding options with the Office of Financial Aid. Students may have access to Parent PLUS loans, alternative loans, grants, and scholarships. Additionally, students who do not take out the full amount of their annual federal loan eligibility during the fall and winter semesters may use the remaining amount to help cover summer study abroad costs. Students who receive Fall or Winter Financial Aid refunds should save as much of their refunds as possible to be used toward Spring/Summer expenses. Students who plan to use alternative loans to help pay for summer study abroad expenses may have more flexibility with regards to the minimum number of summer credits they must register for. 

However, in order to receive Financial Aid for the Spring/Summer, it is important that you complete the Summer FAFSA Application. This form is available on the Office of Financial Aid's Spring/Summer Financial Aid page.

What is the Faculty-Led Grant?

GVSU offers a Study Abroad Grant to faculty-led program participants who have filed a FAFSA form and have “need” as determined by the federal government. There is no application process for these scholarships and they will be automatically awarded once we have the list of participants for these programs from the program directors. Typically, these scholarships average $1500 for students participating in spring/summer programs and $500 for students participating in programs that occur during a traditional fall or winter semester.

If you meet the eligibility requirements for the Faculty-Led Grant, you are not guaranteed an award. In the past, most students have received some grant assistance, but there are limited grant funds available each year.

Semester/Year Programs

How Many Credits do I need to take abroad to qualify for Financial Aid?

Semester/Year participants must maintain full-time status (12 credit minimum) while studying abroad. There may be consequences for students who fail to register or fail to maintain full time status while abroad. You must plan accordingly to transfer back a minimum of 12 GVSU credits. 

Can I Use Renewable Scholarships for Study Abroad?

Yes! Any Financial Aid a student receives at GVSU can be applied to a study abroad program. This includes Academic Scholarships, Community Scholarships, GVSU Scholarships, or anything else you would receive in a typical semester.

What is a Partnership Grant?

As an incentive, Padnos International Center offers Partnership Grants for students spending a Semester or Academic Year at one of our Partner Universities. To be considered for a Partnership Grant, a student must apply by the program deadline and must file a FAFSA. These grants do NOT require any additional application and will be rewarded solely on the strength of a student's study abroad application as well as a student's financial need. 

View a List of GVSU Partnership Grants

Scholarships and Grants

What is myScholarships?

myScholarships is a GVSU database where students can apply for over 500 endowed and department scholarships. The majority of scholarship deadlines fall between February 15 and March 1 and students can begin to submit applications for the 2024-2025 academic year on October 1, 2023. These scholarships vary and may be based on interests, academic performance, special talents or major, and a student can filter their search by completing the General Application.

Refer to the Office of Financial Aid's myScholarships page for more information.

When Should I start applying for Scholarships/Grants?

We encourage students to begin searching for Scholarships/Grants as early as possible (at least 12-18 months prior to your program start date). You will want to begin preparing your application several weeks prior to the deadline and in order to prepare a competitive application, students should seek reviews from Faculty Advisors, the Writing Center, the Office of Fellowships, or anyone else who can offer constructive feedback. 

Refer to our Funding 101 page for a Suggest Funding Timeline and Funding Tips.

What Scholarships are recommended for Study Abroad?

Any scholarship can be used for Study Abroad, even if they are not specifically a Study Abroad Scholarship. However, we do have some recommendations for Padnos International Center, GVSU, and Grand Rapids-based scholarships that work well specifically for Study Abroad.

If you're just getting started, check out our SCHOLARSHIPS AT A GLANCE packet

Explore our Scholarships & Grants Page for recommended Scholarships/Grants and additional Scholarship/Grant Resources.

Financial Aid Forms

What is the Study Abroad Expense Form?

The Study Abroad Expense Form serves as an estimated cost of attendance for your study abroad program. The total amount listed is the maximum amount of aid you can receive from GVSU. This estimated cost of attendance does not reflect the amount of aid you will qualify for, simply the cap on how much could be awarded to you.

This form is to be filled out after acceptance and can be found under "Program Documents" in your Study Abroad Application Portal account. 

If you are meeting with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss your specific questions, you must first submit your Study Abroad Expense Form through the Study Abroad Application Portal. If you do not complete this form, your study abroad costs will not be considered when your financial aid award is processed.

The costs included in this Expense form are...

  • Tuition
  • Program Fees
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Airfare to and from host country
  • In-country transportation
  • Misc. living expenses (i.e. laundry, basic necessities)
  • Passport/visa fees
  • Course-related Fees

What is the Financial Aid Agreement?

All students who will use financial aid (grants, loans, scholarships) for their study abroad program will need to complete the Financial Aid Agreement for each semester they will be abroad. Your expense form will not be sent to the Office of Financial Aid until we have your Financial Aid Agreement on file. Do not delay in completing this document as it could impact the release of your financial aid.

Page last modified April 11, 2024